According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 625,000 new businesses open in the U.S. every year.
At the same time, about 595,000 businesses close each year. That’s a high mortality rate.
In this digital, E-commerce age, a key indicator of whether your business manages to stay out of the latter category is how effective your website is in generating business.
According to Oberlo.com, E-commerce will have 1.92 billion global digital buyers this year, with E-commerce accounting for nearly 14 percent of retail sales worldwide.
Which means websites, and how they are designed and function, will continue to be a major force in the growth of E-commerce.
There are two major elements to the effectiveness of a website: the design and function of the site and the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of the site.
These two elements go hand in hand. Your site won’t be effective if it does not look and operate as a window to your business and it won’t be effective if users cannot find it.
There are several key elements a website must have:
Optimized your website load speeds
Your E-Commerce business will live or die on the strength of your website. If the site is poorly designed/developed and has slow load speeds, it will not last. Seventy-five percent of Internet users make a judgement about a site based on a first impression. If it takes longer than four seconds for your page to load you will lose 25 percent of potential viewers. Many first-time E-Commerce businesses fail because they skimp on upfront website development which includes page speed.
A website with large graphic files and photography will not load as fast as a clean website design with minimal graphics. For maximum efficiency, use design elements that provide faster load speeds.
Optimized mobile access
Market research indicates that mobile is now king. Mobile devices have surpassed all other devices as the most popular way to access the Internet. Your website design should reflect this reality. Make sure your design is responsive. That means it must be designed to display correctly on whatever size and shape screen is used.
If your site is intuitive and easy to navigate, it will be more effective.
Landing pages, especially those dedicated to a specific product or service, must include a call to action and be designed to convert a casual browser into a customer.
Savvy markers create landing pages for specific audiences. This targeted approach to web marketing is pushing sales through the roof.
Social media widgets
People are social creatures. As of March 31, Facebook had 2.38 billion monthly active users, an eight percent increase from the previous year. There is a need for people to be part of something bigger than themselves, especially when it comes to an investment of time and money. When designing your website, accommodate customer testimonials and reviews.
Only one-third of websites have a social share widget on them. Adding this feature can help you tap into legions of social media followers.
Invest in solid web design. The return on investment will be well worth it.
Once have a well-designed, SEO-optimized site, it’s time to look at what your site does for your business.
Ana Amelio, a freelance web designer, blogging for wpmanage.com, says your site should “establish your authority by positioning you as the expert in your niche and building trust in visitors and potential clients; allow your business to be found via organic search by showing up as a relevant result when someone looks for keywords related to your business; inform potential clients and customers what you offer and how your offer can help them; and convert visitors into subscribers and ultimately into repeat buyers.”
Other must-haves for your website include the following:
Live Chat Widget
Research indicates that more people will stay on your site and order products from your site if you provide an opportunity to chat with a flesh and blood person.
J.D. Power found that live chat has emerged as the tool of choice for E-commerce sites looking to increase conversions of site visitors into paying customers.
Here’s five reasons why live chat on your website could be a game-changer:
Customers want their information in real time
– Our culture is one of instant gratification. Sixty-three percent of today’s customers are more likely to revisit a site if it offers live chat.
Chat increases credibility
– Chat offers the person-to-person connection that buyers crave.
Affects bottom line
– Live chat is more cost-effective than call centers and automated interactive voice response systems.
Higher conversion rates
– Live chat can increase conversions by 20 percent.
– With a live agent, customers can get personalized service and response to their specific questions.
Email Capture Form
Email marketing campaigns generate sales and build your brand. Capturing that email address can pave the way to future sales.
For many of your potential customers, video is the medium of choice. They consume video content on their mobile devices. Cisco predicts video will make up 80 percent of all Internet traffic in 2019.
“More content creators, seeing the trend toward greater long-form video consumption on mobile devices — a trend we’ve been noting since last year — are now developing content concurrently for multiple platforms and are transitioning beyond snackable mobile-only content,” Jim O’Neill, Ooyala principal analyst, told stateofdigitalpublishing.com.
Google has captured more than 75 percent of the analytics market. Google can tell you how many people are coming to your site and where they came from. Google can tell you what parts of your site they engage with and what is converting them to sales.
Why is Google Anaytics important? If you can track where your visitors are coming from, it helps you narrow down targeted keywords that convert. There is no point in ranking for a keyword that has no inherent value. With Analytics you can direct your online SERP results and eliminate what’s not working
Call to Action
– Your website is part of your marketing and should be designed to generate sales leads. Strong calls to action must be a part of your website. You can Implement calls to action in various forms such as a “buy now” button, or a subscribe to our email section.
At the end of the day what use is a website visitor if you don’t know who they are? It is vitally important to capture as much about ever client as possible.
There is high credibility in what other people say about you, your products and your services. One of the most powerful marketing tools is a video testimonial from a real person. People can connect at that level.
There are various ways to implement testimonials on your website, such as yelp widgets. Even something as simple as a sections that highlights various things people have said about you online adds value to your potential customer and builds trust.
Finally, your website should be a place where you build trust with your customers. Make your site a place of education, nurturing and conversion.